Saturday, August 16, 2008

All of you animal lovers out there will appreciate the featured artist this week.
In addition to having great accessories for you, fawn now carries collars for your favorite pooch.

I am happy to introduce you to Lucky Fiona.
These dog collars are so fantastic!
Come check them out!

Shannon Barry (a.k.a. Company “Head Bitch”) is the gal behind the colorful collars at Lucky Fiona.

A little custom collar company based out of her home studio in the western Chicago suburbs, her goal is to create unique and conversation-starting dog and cat collars from vintage reproduction and retro inspired fabrics.

Her first stuffed animal was a green dog she named Wiggly Tail at the age of 4. A New York native and lover of all things vintage with a weakness for kitsch, Shannon remembers as an eight year old leafing through her Mother’s 1957 high school yearbook and longing to wear cat eye sunglasses and pretty patterned neck scarves tied in a knot instead of polyester slacks and matching vests. A child of the 1970’s polyester was part of a painful fashion-childhood.

Her mother was an accomplished seamstress and crafter but as part of her teen rebellion Shannon paid a classmate with bags of Doritos to sew all her projects in Home Ec and thought sewing was “totally uncool” and questioned when in her life she would ever need a sewing machine.

In high school she saw a William Wegman exhibit in Greenwich Village that changed the ways she saw dogs and fashion that left an indelible mark on her. She studied art history and photography in college and married her high school sweetheart Alex (“The Man Behind the Bitch”) who is the official silent - and sometimes not so silent - partner of Lucky Fiona. Moving about the country with her husband’s career Shannon ran away quickly from her Seattle desk job in 1996 after an epiphany to work with animals.

She trained as a veterinary technician and worked in the field for close to 10 years ending her traditional work history as a hospital director of a large clinic in the Chicagoland region. In her quest to mix animals and careers she also started and ran a very successful suburban pet sitting service where she could easily get her fix dressing up dogs and photographing them much to the glee of her human clients.

One constant was accessorizing her own dogs with collars that matched their personalities. Frustrated at the lack of variety/uniqueness in commercial dogwear she decided to start a new company working with retro fabrics she loved and giving her own beloved pooches something special to wear to the dog park.

Over the years she and Alex rescued many dogs, 3 Irish Setters and in 2006 they rescued Fiona their first English Setter. Taken from a high kill shelter, Alex often called her “Lucky Fiona” and our company muse was created. Remembering where Fiona came from is part of the company passion and each month collars and proceeds are donated to various animal fundraisers and humane causes across the United States.

Shannon regrets not paying more attention in high school sewing and finishing her own projects. Her penance is sewing each and every Lucky Fiona collar as made to order. Lucky Fiona collars are made with love for people who share their lives with their beloved animal companions. Each is as unique and special as the dogs who wear them.

In 10 years Shannon sees herself still working with dogs and cats, living near the ocean and not regretting any of her tattoos.

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